January 18, 2021 3 min read 6 Comments

I am not a fan of golf. I have nothing against the sport. In fact, it seems like a really great thing, out there walking around with your friends on a beautiful day. But we don’t like what we’re not good at, and I’m really bad at golf. I tried it. hit that ball right into who-knows-where. My friends said, “Keep your head down, “ and, :Hold your hands like this,” and lots of other well-meaning things. I wanted to try again. I wanted to hit the ball again and again until I got it right, like you do in tennis. But you see, golf is not tennis, and it was not my turn any more. I had to wait while the others hit their ball. Then we all had to walk around to see if we could find where my poor ball lay. Only then did, I get a chance to hit it again. Still bad. More advice. More waiting. More walking. More waiting. Maybe I’m just not patient enough for golf.

Strangely, however, I am patient enough to knit my own garments stitch by stitch. I was bad at first, but that’s the beauty of learning to knit. Mess up that stitch? It’s okay, there are plenty more stitches in the row. Don’t like the look of that row? Again, there are lots more rows to knit. One right after the other. No waiting.

And this, my friend, is why seaming is so hard. Seaming is like golf. You only seam sweaters, and you only seam them after you’ve knit all the pieces. Our first experience is maybe not so good, and even if we’re willing to try again, there’s all this knitting that has to happen before our next seaming opportunity. By then, we may have forgotten what we learned with the first seaming experiences, remembering only that it was painful and bad. As someone who hasn’t been on a golf course for more than 20 years, I can see why many knitters give up on seamed sweaters.

I was relating my golfing experience to my sons as they headed out to play 18 with friends. Johnny said, “You know, Mom, you could go to the driving range. Get a bucket of balls and practice hitting all day long.” Well…who knew? Just practice my swing without the waiting and walking. No pesky score-keeping to make me look bad and feel worse. What a concept.

We can do the same with seaming. Just take some of those swatches you have lying around, and practice seaming them up. They don’t have to be the same color. They don’t even have to be the same yarn. Just grab your seaming needle, a couple of swatches, and give it a go. If you don’t like how it looks, no worries. Pull it out and start again. You can practice your seams without having to knit a whole sweater. Without all the stress. It’s not a thing you’re trying to seam perfectly. It’s just practice, and the only goal is to learn. Do it as many times as you need. You’ll get pretty good at it. And the better you are, the more you’ll like it.

Who knows  maybe I’ll try again this spring. Anyone know a good-looking golf pro? :-)

Until we can gather together again, keep knitting, and create something beautiful.  

Warmly,

Ellen


6 Responses

Susan Dyer
Susan Dyer

January 19, 2021

Hi Ellen,
I actually don’t mind seaming. Having you and Gini there to provide assistance, goes a long way to keeping my confidence high.

Getting ready to start your online sweater class. Can’t wait!! Oh, and the golf — recommend good Golf Pro because form is everything in that sport and follow Johnny’s advice to head to the driving range.
As always, thanks for your knitting thoughts today,
Susan

India Oren
India Oren

January 19, 2021

I’m a put put girl myself. And even then, I mostly play for the laughs, not any kind of swinging athletic prowess! I related to the seaming issue with an afghan that is 95% complete….the pieces are crocheted, blocked and nicely stored in a pile where I don’t have to worry about the nightmare of seaming them into the actual blanket! That said,, perhaps now I will use the motivation I got from reading this to take another stab and stitching them together. Thanks for the encouragement! :)

Polly
Polly

January 19, 2021

The one thing about seaming my knitting is that I can take it out and try again. And if I have to do that a few times, it’s still way better than when I have to repeatedly rip out and seam fabric with a sewing machine. I have damaged fabric with too many mistakes. The one thing that has an impact on my seaming is if I don’t knit it to seam well. Too often patterns leave out the extra details that will make the pieces seam well. I didn’t know how to knit the selvage edges to improve seaming (and stumbled into it accidentally and had to come to the shop to get advice… THANK YOU.) I only recently discovered how to do sloped shoulders and necklines so they don’t have the stair step effect (many emails and support from Ellen and Ginny again). My big fear is that if I tackle projects that will need seaming that I will forget that how I knit will have a huge impact and that I cannot trust a pattern to tell me. There are so many tips and techniques that are “understood” by experienced knitters. But, I have been knitting for over 50 years and am just now learning some of these tips. I wish my knitting books had all these tips in one place. I wonder if the experienced knitters and pattern designers even know that the rest of us are clueless and are following our patterns word for word and are frustrated with how homemade instead of handmade our garments look.

Susan
Susan

January 19, 2021

Hmmm… Well, the sweater class has been the first time I found out I was doing swatches incorrectly. I don’t have any swatches lying around because I don’t bind them off and keep them; I unravel them and start my project with that yarn. I do, however, have lots of yarn bits that I can knit up to use for practice.

The other thing that I am not good at is picking up a dropped stitch. Joan Sweeney once patiently gave me a lesson in doing that and gave me homework to practice on a scrap of knitting every day. I didn’t do my homework, and now I can never remember how to pick a dropped stitch. I find it, put a pin on it to hold it, and unknit to the row below and start again. Very tedious. It is the golf of my knitting.
Rona Finkelstein
Rona Finkelstein

January 19, 2021

Ellen, this was very good advice. I’ve been scared to seam because I don’t want to mess up my knitting project. I never thought to practice on scraps. I think I’ll do that! Thanks!

Andrea Swierczek
Andrea Swierczek

January 19, 2021

I’m with you on golf. I do best with a 6 pack… -Andrea

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